By Rob Cox
This essay appears in the March 19 edition of Newsweek. The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
(Photo: Protesters at the Arc de Triomphe, 18 June 2010/Benoit Tessier)
A “sausage and wine” party went ahead in Paris despite a police ban but was staged near the Arc de Triomphe instead of in a neighbourhood with many Muslim residents as originally planned. Friday’s event had been criticised as highly provocative because it was planned for the day of weekly Muslim prayers and the World Cup soccer match between England and Algeria, a former French colony that is majority Muslim.
A giant “sausage and wine” party planned later this week in a Paris neighbourhood with many Muslim residents risks sparking disturbances and will therefore be banned, police in the French capital announced on Tuesday.
Malaysia’s government has filed for a stay of execution pending its appeal of a court ruling allowing a Malay-language Catholic paper to describe the Christian God as “Allah”, amid growing Islamic anger in the country. We reported on the dispute here yesterday, including how it has spilled over into Facebook.
You won’t get an email saying Pope Benedict added you as a friend and you can’t “poke” him or write on his wall, but the Vatican is still keen to use the networking site Facebook to woo young people back to church.
Someone pretending to be Pope Benedict’s personal secretary Monsignor Georg Gänswein, a German priest whose good looks have made him a celebrity in his own right, has set up a false Facebook account in his name. Several journalists in Rome have received an invitation from someone claiming to be him and asking them to be his Facebook friend.